Conceptions of Multilevel Selection

Project Leader: Christopher Dimond

I study the history, philosophy, and the biology of concepts related to natural selection operating across multiple levels of biological organization. A portion of my work has been trying to better understand the degree of intercommunication between different fields and topic areas that all address this subject. For instance, to what extent have researchers designing experimental projects used the ideas or approaches advocated by theoreticians and philosophers? And to what extent have discussions about concepts such as 'group selection', 'multilevel selection', 'cultural group selection', and 'community selection' overlapped and to what extent have they been distinct? In addressing questions like these, computational HPS allows not only for new forms of visualization and analysis of data, but also access to new kinds of data such as citation and co-authorship analyses, and exploration of the ways that keyword use changes over time. Here I am interested in how to best use computational approaches to represent and analyze some of the ways that disciplines and fields interact, which might ultimately lead to more beneficial communication between disciplines.